Zannah Reed’s “and we are born of the Universe”

Zannah Reed's "and we are born"

Zannah Reed’s “and we are born” (photograph by Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova)

“I really wasn’t sure I wanted to participate in the World Tattoo Project, not like the Lexington Tattoo Project where there was no question, I was in. Although, like with LTP, I knew my phrase the first time I read the poem. ‘and we are born’ was perfect. The birth imagery of the piece was so powerful—as a retired midwife, I felt it would honor that period of my life. But I wavered back and forth until I made the appointment with Robert Alleyne for January 21 of this year. A randomly chosen date as the next available Thursday appointment, but it just happened to be three years to the day since I got my first tattoo, ‘of the Universe.’

There was never a thought as to placement, if I was going to join in the fun. The new tattoo would be on my left shoulder and read across to the LTP tattoo on my right shoulder. Not only would ‘and we are born’ read coherently with, but it would also keep the tone of why I chose ‘of the Universe.’

Of course, there was the thing that I would get another tattoo that I couldn’t readily see. And while I liked the design, it didn’t immediately engage me. But mostly I kept coming back to the fact that I really liked the exclusivity of being in the first project, the Original, and another living mural seemed like I was jumping on the band wagon. It is. And I did. And that’s okay.

I love my new tattoo! I find new bits to connect with every time I see it in the mirror or catch a glimpse over my shoulder. It is perfect and so me. I love belonging to these projects and I feel being in one provides balance for the other.”